Defensive Two Deep:
#92 Kenny Kendal 6-3, 250, Sr.
#98 Greg Middleton 6-3, 260, Fr.
#62 Greg Brown 6-2, 303, So.
#97 Keith Burrus 6-2, 269, Fr.
#95 Joe Kremer 6-2, 295, Jr.
#90 Todd Newman 6-4, 274, Fr.
#57 Jammie Kirlew 6-3, 250, Fr.
#85 Brian Faires 6-3, 257, Jr.
#56 Geno Johnson 6-2, 210, So.
43 Matt Mayberry 6-2, 211, Fr.
#34 William Patterson 6-1, 222, Fr.
#10 Madela Roberts 6-0, 220, Fr.
#51 Adam McClurg 6-0, 230, Jr.
#46 Jake Powers 6-1, 230, Sr.
#39 Will Meyers 5-11, 201, Sr.
#26 Brandon Mosley 5-8, 195, So.
#5 Troy Grosfield 6-0, 195, Sr.
#20 Austin Thomas 6-2, 210, Fr.
#16 Chris Phillips 5-11, 185, So.
#28 Leslie Majors 5-9, 170, Jr.
#9 Tracy Porter 5-10, 181, Jr.
#33 Joe Kleinsmith 5-11, 190, So.
Coming off a 63-26 beating at the hands of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Indiana defense finds itself reeling and 105th in the country. The Hoosiers weren't able to slow down the Gopher running attack or contain them through the air.
"It was across the board" said Coach Terry Hoeppner of his team's defensive ineffectiveness. "We were equal opportunity offenders. I'm not pointing fingers, because it starts with me. As Coach Walker would say, any time you point a finger, there are three pointing right back at you, so be a thumb pointer not a finger pointer. It starts with me, but I like already what we have done in terms of shoring it up. We've got to do some things in coverage. Some of the same calls what worked really well against Illinois, didn't work so well against Minnesota...It's my job as a coach to help them on the field. You don't enjoy a game like that, but it's something that I needed to know what really happened and what really went wrong and how we are going to get it fixed."
One of the major problems with the Indians defense is the lack of a pass rush. In fact, the Hoosiers average only one sack a game, putting them 108th in the nation. Defensive end Jammie Kirlew lacks the quickness off the line and overall strength to be a factor at left end. Right end Kenny Kendal has experience and was expected to have a standout season, but that kind of production has yet to materialize. The best lineman of the group is defensive tackle Greg Brown. Brown has nice tools but his stamina and effort seem to come and go too often. Joe Kremer lacks the physical skills of Brown but plays with a good motor and is smart reading screens and plays away from him. The depth of the line is extremely thin, so don't expect much rotation up front.
The linebackers are a very young group with only one senior, Jake Powers, in the two deep. The linebacker group as a whole is aggressive, but it makes too many mistakes and fails to shed blocks. Middle linebacker Adam McClurg and strong side linebacker Geno Johnson are both tied with 47 tackles. The defense features a position similar to Michigan State's "bandit." The Hoosiers refer to it as "buck". Two true freshmen, Will Patterson and Madela Roberts, make up the two deep there. The position allows for limited substituting and more versatility in matching up in the passing game. Though the scheme has been largely ineffective because of inexperience, it is a work in progress for the future.
With three of the four top tacklers coming from the secondary, it is easy to see that the front seven is not getting the job done. The stress of having to play a big role in run support has also caused the overall pass defense for the Hoosiers to slip, ranking 97th in the country.
Cornerbacks Tracy Porter, Chris Phillips, and Leslie Majors certainly do not lack speed, but they just don't get to the ball quick enough. Expect to see large cushions at each of the corners a majority of the time. Also expect former kicker Joe Kleinsmith to be substituted in from time to time in the slot. The safeties Troy Grosfield and Will Meyers have been very solid in run support but just do not show ideal range in coverage. Overall, the lack of playmakers on defense has the unit in the cellar of defensive statistics and overall play.
Indiana hasn't stopped the run well all year, which in turn is something Michigan does very well on offense. The Wolverines should be able to have their way on offense both through the air and on the ground. Kellen Lewis is the main threat to the Wolverine defense and he is an outstanding target in receiver James Hardy. The Hoosiers in actuality are a great fit on the schedule. Not only will the Wolverines get to adjust more for the spread offense, and a running quarterback. Hmmm… should we be looking ahead?